Further Reading

If you are interested in the foundation documents of the Fellowship of Contemplative Prayer, there are books written by the founder of the Fellowship, Robert Coulson. These, and others listed at the foot of this page, are available from the Administrator

There are many books available on contemplative prayer but the following are written by the Revd Peter Dodson: Peter is well known to many members of the Fellowship, regularly leading groups, Quiet Days and Retreats. As well as



Kevin Mayhew (2005)


which is co-written with Revd Martin Tunnicliffe, the following books by Peter are also available:


TOWARDS CONTEMPLATION– a practical introduction for prayer groups

Fairacres Publications NO 64 (1977)


CONTEMPLATING THE WORD – a practical handbook

SPCK and Moorhouse (1987)


EMBODY THE WORD - Being a Temple of the Holy Spirit

Triangle (1989)        



Templum publications (2010), available from the author: jpeterdodson@hotmail.co.uk.



Book Reviews

A New Book by Martin Tunnicliffe          


Our former Chaplain and General Secretary is publishing his latest book in 2020. Entitled The Rough with the Smooth, the book contains articles that he has written during the past twenty years together with illustrations from his own sketchbook. The following remarks are contributed by his daughter and appear on the back cover.

What does ‘Sin’ have to do with ‘Archery’, and what happens when we ‘Miss the mark’?  Why should Sermons and Christians not just ‘comfort the afflicted’ but also ‘afflict the comfortable’? Where are Heaven and Hell located, and when is the ‘Word of the Lord’ not the ‘Word of the Lord’?  How is it that we are actually wishing others ‘Wholeness’ or ‘Holiness’ when we say ‘Hello’, and would it be better if NHS stood for National Holiness Service?

Deliberations and ponderings on these and many other fascinating ideas can be found in this collection of articles which aim to both challenge and inspire. 

Martin Tunnicliffe is not afraid to tackle issues such as why a loving God allows pain and suffering, why He/She should “lead us into temptation”, or why Western society should accept its share of responsibility for acts of terrorism.  At the same time, he constantly invites his readers to look beyond the obvious, to peer beneath the surface, and to be aware of their “Sense of more than…” just their usual perception of the world. 

All this is delivered within a framework of strong and uncompromising faith, with manifest erudition and more than a dollop of humour.  Oh yes, and a few whimsical, largely unrelated sketches by the author, just to break it up!


Anyone who wants to reserve a copy is invited to contact Martin through the Administrator       admin@contemplative-prayer.org.uk


As suggestions for other further reading, a member of the Fellowship has contributed these book reviews.

Journey to the Centre of the Soul by Andrew D. Mayes

 The Revd Canon Dr. Andrew D Mayes is currently Spirituality Adviser to the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf and Anglican Priest of Limassol; he has recently been the Spirituality Adviser for the Diocese of Chichester, where he also previously served as Director of Clergy and Lay Training.  He is an international speaker and teaches at the London Centre for Spirituality, as well as leading retreats across the UK.  He is also the author of several books on spirituality. 

In this absorbing and beautifully written book, Andrew Mayes takes us on a journey, exploring both the archaeological and geological sites of the Holy Land, and our life of prayer.    He gives a vivid description of the landscape of the Holy Land; the mountainous terrain, the caves, some underground, (that were lived in and often used as places of prayer), and above all the wilderness and the desert, places where we encounter God and ourselves.

 Andrew Mayes got to know the Holy Land when working as course director at St. George’s College Jerusalem and through his ongoing ministry, regularly leading pilgrimages exploring the mountains, the deserts, rivers, and caves.  He uses these places in a fascinating way, to symbolise the spiritual life, and the experiences the contemplative will encounter, encouraging us to discover the riches that can be found within us.  He draws on some of the prophets and the psalms in the Bible and includes the depth of wisdom found in the parables of Jesus in the New Testament.

We learn from luminary contemplatives such as Thomas Merton, Teresa of Avila, and St. John of the Cross and some of the great medieval saints, who inspire us to go deeper into God.    Andrew Mayes also writes about symbolism of darkness and light; the dark night of the soul; the ascent to God; the solitude of the desert; temptation in the wilderness; entering the cave of our heart; the river of prayer; finding treasures in darkness and the discovery of inner freedom, when we let go of the things that can imprison us, and emerge into the light.

This is a book both for individuals and groups as each chapter finishes with points for reflection/discussion and prayer. It is an invaluable addition to some recent books on the life of prayer and contemplation. 

Journey to the Centre of the Soul” by Andrew D. Mayes was published in 2017, by BRF.  The book is available in paperback from all good bookshops and priced at £8.99.   


More recommended books                      

For Lent:                               Word in the Wilderness by Malcolm Guite 

For Advent:                          Waiting on the Word by Malcolm Guite

For Lent and Advent:        Treasures of Darkness by Barbara Mosse


Into the Silent Land  - The Practice of Contemplation       by Martin Laird 

This is an exceptional and beautiful book.    Martin Laird takes his readers through the practice of contemplation and silent prayer in a fresh, practical way, emphasising the importance of finding the inner place of silence and how to clear the mind of distractions. 

He is particularly helpful when dealing with the distractions, inner fears and anxieties that can hinder us and get in the way, obscuring the silent land within. He explains how one can come to terms with their reality, and overcome them. He gives telling examples, using real life stories of people who have come through their fears and obsessions to discover liberation and freedom. It is by passing through the 'Three Doorways' with the use of the prayer word, that the veil caused by distractions and emotions that so often plague us, is lifted, and the inner, luminous landscape within each human being, is revealed.   Martin Laird also writes about the wound in all human beings that can become a well of compassion, and how it is possible to become a witness as opposed to being a victim.  

This book is an absolute gem and will appeal to all who are journeying along the path of contemplative prayer.  Into the Silent Land is published by Darton, Longman and Todd and the price is £10.95.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

A Sunlit Absence     by Martin Laird

In this companion volume to 'Into the Silent Land', Martin Laird takes us further on our journey of discovering the 'silent land' within us.  He describes "the vast and flowing spaciousness that embraces both silence and sound, and transcends all dualisms of subject and object".  Drawing on the writings of some of the great contemplatives, such as Teresa of Avila and others, he shows "how we can uncover the deeper levels of awareness that rest within us like buried treasure waiting to be found".   He goes deeper into solving the distractions that sometimes overwhelm us, and sees our difficulties as "opportunities to practice surrender to what is".   With clarity and grace, he shows how we can "move away from identifying with our turbulent, ever-changing thoughts and emotions to the cultivation of a 'sunlit absence',   the luminous awareness in which God's presence can be most profoundly felt".   This is another beautiful and inspiring book, written with simplicity that we can connect with.    A Sunlit Absence is published by Oxford University Press, and priced at £12.95


Finding your Hidden Treasure - The Way of Silent Prayer    by Bennignus 0'Rourke 0SA

 Bennignus 0'Rourke is an Augustinian Friar and a member of the Community at Clare Priory in Suffolk. He has been leading people in the way of silent prayer for more than 40 years.  
 Most chapters in this book are just over a page in length and arranged thematically in sections. Each chapter addresses a crucial threshold along the spiritual path.  The headings of the sections include our "Lost Treasure"; "Jesus the Teacher Within", "How God heals our Brokenness", "The Fruits of Silence" and "Our Return Journey".  Bennignus O'Rourke writes "The most important journey in life is the journey inward, to the depths of our own being.  It is a journey we are all invited to make. It takes us beyond words and images into silence.  The silence allows the restless mind to become still and in the stillness we enter a new world. We return to our hearts.  Here we find our true selves. We discover an ancient way of finding God that has almost become lost.  Slowly we realise that we are in union with the source of life and love itself; our whole life changes.  Our goal now is to take God's love to others in our everyday lives".   This is a wonderfully helpful and inspiring book to pick up at any time.  Finding Your Hidden Treasure is published by DLT (UK) and is priced at £9.95. 

On Course in Contemplation
A selection of Robert Coulson's annual letters 1960-1980... [more]
A selection of Robert Coulson's private correspondence... [more]
Into God
By the founder of the Fellowship, Robert Coulson... [more]
The Threefold Reality
By the founder of the Fellowship, Robert Coulson... [more]
I AM: the exercise of supreme sovereignty
By the founder of the Fellowship, Robert Coulson... [more]
Spirit and Life
The official biography of Robert Coulson, written by Martin Tunnicliff... [more]
Within Thy Silence
A successor to More Words for Contemplation, edited by Martin Tunnicli... [more]